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Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb?
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Post: #1 Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 01-23-2012 02:57 PM


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Hello all. I thought I'd share my weight loss/gain story to see anyone else has had a similar experience. First off, let me say that I absolutley feel getting rid of all sugar/most carbs is good for one's over all health---I've read Taubes, Lustig, and others, love Jimmy's podcast, etc., and am on board with all of that. But, here's my story ... About 2 1/2 yrs. ago, a year after having my second child, I weighed b/w 165-170 at 5'10. I never really had a "weight problem" ... I was around 140 lbs. in college and the extra weight came on over the next 20 yrs. Typical. When I hit 40 yrs. in 2008 I thought, "that's it! Time to get back in shape/lose weight!" I got a treadmill and weights, worked out like a crazy person for 5-6 hrs. per week ... no real weight loss after 4 months. The next spring I decided I'd have to do it "the old fashioned way" and I cut my calories to about 1500/day on average, and kept up the working out. I lost 35 lbs. over the next 7 months. I ate lots of eggs, beans, salads, chicken breast, berries, greek yogurt, tomatoes, peppers (pretty darn low-carb), but also still had a hunk of good, dark crusty bread (Whole Foods!), wine, chocolate and really anything else I wanted on occasion. The only things I remember cutting out completely were beer and sour cream (because I had a weakness for homemade nachos, and if I didn't have sour cream, I wouldn't make them). I got down to 128-132 and stayed there for almost 2 yrs., until last summer, and then some of the weight came back on (got up to 138 or so). It was then that I discovered G. Taubes and began reading his past articles and bought his book WWGF. I wondered if I could get back to where by going totally low-carb. So, I tried the "calories don't count/eat as much as you want/avoid all sugar/most carbs" to see what happed. Well, I GAINED a few pounds .... not a lot, but a few so that I'm now over 140. So here's my question/connundrum ... if I want to be 140 lbs./size 4/6, I can eat as much as I want as long as I stay low carb. If I want to be closer to 130 lbs., and fit into my size 2s, I have to cut calories and stay away from sugar/refined carbs AND keep up with the working out (I still work out but less than when I got down under 130lbs.)

Does that mean that calories do matter if you desire to be thinner than necessary---and I would say that I don't HAVE to be 130 lbs. at 5'10, that 140 is fine/healthy and all that, but ... I admit that I like being thinner. I like my size 2 clothes (vanity, yes). (Aside: either way, I intend to cut most/all sugar and refined carbs out of my diet for health rather than specifically for weight reasons. What Taubes wrote about sugar's role in the development of cancer and dementia scared me---especially because my mother was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in her early 60s, and my dad is currently battling stage-4 lymphoma.)

Anyone else have a similar story? Thanks. Shelly
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Post: #2 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 01-23-2012 07:03 PM


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I don't think it has anything to do with calories. Some of us (myself included) have hormonal imbalances that may make it very difficult even with strict low-carbing to get the body we want. It may be the price to pay for years of damaging effects from eating a poor diet. I'd LOVE to be thinner than I am right now, but being healthy is much more important in my book.

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Post: #3 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 01-23-2012 09:03 PM
(This post was last modified: 01-23-2012 09:10 PM by tedhutchinson.)


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I think gut flora and mitochondrial function also have an impact on calorie storage and thermogenesis (calorie burning for body temperature regulation)
So to improve mitochondrial function we need to look at intermittent fasting (calorie restriction), ketogenic diets, metabolic antioxidants (curcumin/resveratrol) and exercise.

And to improve gut microflora we have to reduce inflammation, (that means dealing with stress, lowering cortisol) improve sleep, (improve circadian rhythm, melatonin secretion) think about probiotics/prebiotics.
We know that fat activates the satiety hormones that apply the brakes to appetite as it passes through the digestive system but so does Inulin and FructoOligoSaccharides so ensuring you have some food sources of fructooligosaccharide will help enable a natural calorie reduction.
I suspect we have to reduce the level of acidity in our body to reduce inflammation as that promotes pathogenic bacterial proliferation, (they extract more calories from foods we eat and tend to make us store surplus calories. The good bacteria prefer an anti inflammatory environment so increasing your anti inflammatory omega 3, vitamin d3, melatonin, magnesium intake helps create a system that enables good bacteria to dominate over the pathogenic forms. I think it takes longer and more effort to correct vitamin D3, omega 3, circadian rhythm/melatonin secretion and restore magnesium stores than most people credit and the same applies to restoring a natural gut flora.

I think if you are young enough and you haven't damaged your metabolic system then a basic low carb diet will be fine, but for many there will have been too much inflammation for far too long and not only the hormones will be deranged but the digestive tract will be damaged as will some organs so most of use need to make the best of a bad job and may have to correct the imbalance in our gut flora and also restore our mitochondrial function and correct omega 3<>6 ratio, and all these take time.

I'm also concerned about reducing the risk of cancers. diabetes and dementia and I'm absolutely certain this is the way to go. It certainly was the low carbing that enabled me to lose weight but before I started I'd invested time in correcting my omega 3 vitamin D3 status and I think that was what made it easier for me than for many. It's not the getting it off but the keeping it off that matters in the long run. So while I think Taubes is absolutely right there are other refinements that may improve the long term outcome.
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Post: #4 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 01-28-2012 03:16 PM
(This post was last modified: 01-28-2012 03:18 PM by Buttoni.)


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Just wanted to welcome you to the forums, SmbWhite. Each of us have to customize our eating a bit to get where we want to be. But with the helpful support here, you can do this!

Ah, Ted, don't want to hi-jack here, but "deranged" hormones made me LOL. I LOVE your choice of words there. Smile So that's what I shall call my out-of-whack hormones from now on. Turns out I have low thyroid function on top of "deranged" hormones as well. I'm a mess, huh?

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Post: #5 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 11-30-2012 01:56 PM
(This post was last modified: 11-30-2012 01:59 PM by diana.gothamette.)


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(01-23-2012 02:57 PM)smbwhite Wrote:  person for 5-6 hrs. per week ... no real weight loss after 4 months. The next spring I decided I'd have to do it "the old fashioned way" and I cut my calories to about 1500/day on average, and kept up the working out. I lost 35 lbs. over the next 7 months......
Does that mean that calories do matter if you desire to be thinner than necessary---and I would say that I don't HAVE to be 130 lbs. at 5'10, that 140 is fine/healthy and all that, but ... I admit that I like being thinner. I like my size 2 clothes (vanity, yes). (

Anyone else have a similar story? Thanks. Shelly

I realize this thread is nearly a year old but Shelly's story resonated so much with me that I had to respond.

In short, it has everything to do with calories. Read your own story: you cut calories, you lost weight.

Also, at 5'10" 130 pounds is awfully thin. I understand your need to be lean - I have the same obsession - but that is really thin. Do you have an impedance scale? That will tell you your body fat percentage. Most women should not go below 20% body fat. Going below that is simply unhealthy and unnecessary.

Why complicate matters?
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Post: #6 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 12-28-2012 12:37 PM


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Well... the calories do matter, or else an athlete couldn't gain muscle mass on a LC diet, which they surely can; and a person at their target weight wouldn't be able to stay there. But calories are not all created equal. (I didn't really believe this till recently, but insulin is real and it doesn't play around, and its only one of many). Especially if one is trying to get to very low weights, or very low BF%, reducing calories below expenditure is required. If you wanted to gain muscle mass, you'd have to really pour on the fats to provide the surplus energy required for the very expensive metabolic process of creating muscle tissue.

There's also leptin to consider, in the low weight target you have, you'll surely trigger the natural response in your body that measures available energy, and if you're LC, the insulin won't be screwing around with its perception, so you will get a very powerful, distinct hunger signal when your BF drops far enough. LC or HC, you will obey it, eventually. For weight loss from overweight/obese, this works like a champ though, because without the insulin screwing with the leptin perception, you have loads of available energy in stored fat, and so very modest amounts of LC food in will be sufficient for most to feel saited.
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Post: #7 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 12-28-2012 08:21 PM


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Calories do matter on a low carb diet, just not as much as on a low fat diet. Even Taubes admits to this. In an earlier interview on Jimmy's podcast he used the example of ribeye steaks, which is about as low carb as you can get. He said if you ate 10 ribeyes in a day, of course you would gain weight, but his overall message was you could eat more on a low carb diet than any other way of eating and still lost weight.
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Post: #8 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 05-22-2013 12:53 PM


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I know this is an old thread, but it had exactly what I was looking for.

Last June I started a low-carb diet and lost 15 pounds (down from 149 to 134) and as of today, I'm back up to 145. Sad

Part of it is the occasional cheat (chocolate), but I think I'm just eating too many calories. I looked at what I've been eating and realize that I used to eat a portion of salad twice the size as what I'm eating now. I realized that now, instead of filling the container with lettuce and green beans and then stuffing in 4 olives and 5 grape tomatoes, I've been filling the salad container only half way. So, obviously, I'm not full after eating the meal and I end up eating more cheese sticks.

Also, I switched from eating a salad mix to eating straight Romaine because it was frustrating how fast the salad mix would spoil. I think maybe the greens in the mix were helping my metabolism somehow.

I also had been avoiding artificial sweeteners. I started using Monk Fruit packets. They didn't seem to raise my blood sugar, but maybe they were increasing my appetite. I'll have to investigate further.

I have a blood ketone meter and I'm reading around .3 when I test. I've heard that you really want .5 or greater if you're testing in the morning and 1.0 or greater if you test in the evening.

So, with new resolve, I'm correcting my habits. I look forward to losing that weight again.
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Post: #9 RE: Anyone GAIN weight doing low carb? , 05-23-2013 12:13 AM


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I ate strictly low carb for several years, in an effort to lose 40 lbs (5'7", I was 190, definitely overweight). Until I cut my calories, keeping low carb and as high fat as possible within my calorie cap of about 1400/day, I couldn't lose (though I felt pretty great and my labs were amazing). Happily, I lost 45 lbs over about 7 months and am maintaining and still feeling awesome. No hunger, moderate exercise, I lost weight every week with no plateaus. Each of us are different, but I had to cut back on large meat portions (instead of 10-12 oz, I ate 4-5 oz per meal) replacing it with lots of nonstarchy veggies to keep me satisfied. All I can say is it worked and continues to keep me slim and healthy.
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